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    Russian Police Disrupt Event Promoting Book on Stalinist Crimes in St. Petersburg

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    Russian police halted a book promotion event on Saturday in St. Petersburg, featuring Irina Flige and the Polish edition of her work, “Sandarmoch. Dramaturgy of Meanings,” dedicated to Stalinist crimes in Russia. The gathering, attended by the Polish Consul General Grzegorz Ślubowski, faced document checks, and one copy of the book was confiscated by authorities, citing a search for “opposition figures and foreign agents.”

    Sandarmokh (Сандармох; Karelian: Sandarmoh) is a forest massif 12 km (7.5 mi) from Medvezhyegorsk in the Republic of Karelia where an unknown number, estimated in the thousands, of victims of Stalin's Great Terror were executed. More than 58 nationalities were shot and buried there by the NKVD in 236 communal pits over a 14-month period in 1937 and 1938.

    Kremlin-aligned media, present with the police, hinted at an “organized meeting of Russian opposition” facilitated by Polish diplomats at the Interior Theater, where the book presentation took place. The police, after an hour, left the venue after collecting data from all attendees.

    Irina Flige and the Legacy of Memorial

    Irina Flige, a researcher of Stalinist crimes and chair of the St. Petersburg branch of the Memorial Association, faced police scrutiny. Memorial, honored with the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize, was ordered to dissolve by Russian authorities in 2021.

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